Islamic extremism has nothing to do with Islam then? Is that Cameron’s latest thesis? The clue isn’t in the name after all then?
Thank you, Mr Cameron, for educating the rest of us so well, provided, that is, we believe uncritically in the mere assertions of your democratically elected self (if that’s not overstating your coalition government’s mandate).
Cameron’s might seem like a pretty plausible stance, at first glance, to many a citizen. Why, the speaker’s own “Parliamentary Conservative Party”, the bunch of legislators who (for example) are even willing meekly to advance the “smash the family” social engineering of their own Marxist Feminist infiltrators whenever Mr Cameron’s whips order them to do so, aren’t actually conservatives themselves nowadays, are they? Not in deed as in profession.
What then could be more reasonable than that hypocrisy just like his own is what now fuels mayhem in Iraq and Syria? Something as unconnected with what Islam really is, as he is with what conservatism really is?
But, hang on a minute, before swallowing, hook, line and sinker, what Cameron seems to be saying, to you. (It isn’t easy to work out what he is actually saying, objectively, to anybody who is listening, as he makes the noises that he thinks of as the right noises for him to be making now, with so many votes at stake.) Let us please think awhile, for a change.
I shall now use straw man rhetoric. I use it not to prove a thought bite point of mine, though. (Not that anybody is ever likely in the near future to challenge Mr Cameron to prove any such point that he makes, assuming he makes a point that we can all understand alike, and assuming that he is in the business of making proper points in the first place, rather than mere noises.)
I propose now to paraphrase some of the words of the real Mr Cameron, into the fictitious words of my “straw man” Cameron. I do this merely in order to help me to make my point, to you, dear reader. This small leeway for valid “straw man” rhetoric, rather than straw man argument, is surely allowed. Once you have got my point, with the help of my Straw Cameron’s paraphrased speech, you are perfectly entitled to ask me to prove my point, although I am equally entitled not to be bothered to do that, because you could easily just read the Koran for yourself.
Isn’t Straw Cameron merely saying this? :-
Just as the (Parliamentary) Conservatives in the UK by-and-large aren’t really conservatives at all nowadays, likewise (“trust me on this, I’m a Prime Minister”) Islamist Extremists, far from being extremely Islamic as you’d naturally expect from the nomenclature, are, in fact, hardly Islamic people at all, perhaps not even true Moslems at all, not even moderately so.
My straw Cameron is here borrowing, and applying to Islam, on which he makes pretensions to having such expertise, a distinction of protestant theology said to have eternal consequences. That is, the distinction between, on the one hand, “true believers” – born-again saints if you like – real Christians – people who are thought to be “saved” and who are collectively referred to as “the church invisible” – and, on the other hand, “hypocrites” and “temporary believers” (as I seem to remember that the Westminster Confession and the Baptist Confession of 1689 refer to them) sojourning within what protestants used to call “the church visible”.
Isn’t what Straw Cameron is really saying also this, on the other hand? :-
That it’s really that nice Turkish chap at the kebab shop, or Bengali waiter at the “Indian” restaurant, who, for all we know, wouldn’t hurt a fly, eats pork chops served to him at table if it would offend a tactless English host not to (or because he just likes pork) who is the true Moslem? The so-called Moslem who drinks lager (but only socially, and very occasionally, of course), because Allah is merciful? The Moslem who quite possibly hasn’t visited a mosque or spoken to an imam in five years? The nominal Moslem, like the seven Bosnian refugees who drank lager (at least, the adults did) and ate bacon butties, to whom I offered shelter in my house in Guildford over twenty years ago, when a local church was bringing Moslems over from war-torn Bosnia to the UK as refugees, by the bus-load? The “moderate” Moslem next door who is not at risk of ever planting a bomb himself, or chopping off some other poor frightened chap’s head, possibly because he keeps his only copy of the Koran (and that hardly ever used) in a box in his attic?
If Islam is “the religion of peace”, Straw Cameron continues, then might not this peace-loving nice-guy stereotype be the “true” Moslem that Mr Cameron so enthusiastically envisages, even though Mr Cameron is at other times as cynical about truth as was Pontius “What is truth?” Pilate himself? How convenient would that be!
Mr Cameron, I suspect, doesn’t relate well to any brand of what he’d call “fundamentalism”. God knows he has gone out of his way to ensure that many Christian fundamentalists will never again vote Tory. Cameron is best known in the circles in which I move for betraying conservative fundamentals. He is a kinder and wiser person, in some respects, than he would be, if he had insisted upon believing in, and acting upon, the literal truth of the whole counsel of the scriptures of Conservatism published in the last Tory manifesto. I grant him that compliment. But he has also done great harm which surely nobody in their right mind would ever have elected him to do, because he has disdained belief in the literal truth of his own manifesto, the scriptures of modern British Conservatism.
Straw Cameron’s argument is that Islamic Extremists aren’t even moderately Islamic, as he understands what it is to be Islamic; whilst Islamic Moderates, his sort of people, or at least people he can put up with, are extremely akin to his preferred mental picture of what it is to be Islamic in the first place. N’est-ce pas?
Not approving of any sort of fundamentalism helps Mr Cameron to overcome the cognitive dissonance, whereby obeying the Islamic scriptures, specifically the Koran, interpreted literally, by becoming a terrorist (say), isn’t at all what he means by “Islamic”, whereas humbly serving drunk English lager louts bacon burgers in a take-away, never reading the Koran, and certainly never becoming a terrorist, is extremely Islamic to Mr Cameron’s imaginative and wishful way of thinking.
Islamic Moderates are thus extremely Islamic according to Mr Cameron, whilst Islamic Extremists aren’t even moderately Islamic.
Islam is what it is. No matter how many millions believe what they hear from Mr Cameron, their mistaken belief cannot miraculously make a lie true. Wishing, and therefore declaring in a political speech what one hopes will turn out to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, that war-mongering Islam has really been a religion of peace all along, an unjustly misunderstood calming influence on the world stage for the past dozen centuries, isn’t going to fool the people.
David Cameron mocks the phrase “a clash of civilisations”, in a speech in which he describes exactly that!
I enjoyed making my point so much, I have no time left to prove it. Anybody know whether it is true? Would the real Islam please stand up?